There doubtless hasn’t been a scripture in the Bible more misused, misunderstood, and abused than Colossians 3:18. “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Instead of allowing the Word of God to be a delight (Psalm 119:16), many have used that little word, “submit” as a sword against each other and to suck the joy out of being married.
Here’s the reality: marriage is hard. Bill and Lynn Hybles wrote, “Don’t misunderstand us. Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But, if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way.”
Perhaps that reality is why Paul finished up his instruction to husbands, wives and slaves with this: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23).” We need to be busy working hard in our marriages. Creating a lasting and God honoring marriage will be a humbling experience for both partners.
The good news is that the work required in marriage is well worth the effort. It sharpens us and softens us in ways that make us better people. The gift of having a partner in life and parenting and ministry shouldn’t be taken for granted. Marriage may be work, but it should also be good.
Statistics tell us that married adults live longer and are healthier. Marriage itself boosts a man’s salary. Married people are less likely to die in preventable accidents, which is why your insurance premiums probably went down when you got married. Children who live in intact families tend to do better in school and have better physical and emotional health as well as economic well-being. (In fact, children born outside of marriage are five times more likely to be poor than those living in intact families.) Married people are also far better able to navigate a crisis successfully.
The Word of God was never meant to be used as a weapon against each other or to put anyone “in their place.” Not even this verse in Colossians. Rather than giving it more weight than was intended, let’s busy ourselves being the best married partners that we can be and we will miraculously find ourselves being the husbands and wives that God intended us to be.
(For those who have missed any of the previous lessons, you can go to https://comethirstyministry.com/blog/ and view all previous postings.)
Day 1: Colossians 3:1-25 (Husbands and Wives)
Day 2: 1 Timothy 2:1-13 (Women)
Day 3: 1 Timothy 3:1-13 (Those in Ministry)
Day 4: 1 Timothy 5:1-16 (Honor for Widows)
Day 5: 2 Timothy 1:1-18 (Lois and Eunice)